With the New Year upon us, it’s a good time to reflect on the year ahead and what our industry can expect from 2018. While we don’t have a crystal ball, we can certainly look at the trends from 2017 that look set to continue over the coming months and beyond.
The most obvious factor, which is casting a shadow of uncertainty over practically every industry, is Brexit.
Our sales managers, both regional and national, have encountered concern from procurement teams right across the country, with the majority of worries centring on Brexit’s potential impact on the construction labour pool.
Dave Craig, National Account Manager here at Plastic Surgeon, said: “Construction already suffers from a shortage of skilled tradespeople, and if European labour opts to leave the UK in the wake of Brexit insecurity, the resulting exodus would create a considerable shortfall of skilled workers. The knock-on effect of this would see projects falling behind schedule, while contractors would also have to pay above the current market rates for trades, increasing overall project costs.”
At Plastic Surgeon, we’re one of the few sub-contractors who are actively recruiting more staff, having invested heavily in our NVQ qualification scheme for all our front-line staff, helping to ensure we offer skills attained to a recognised standard, as well as meeting the requirements of CSCS card accreditation.
In addition to our frontline staff training we’re also investing heavily in leadership courses for our senior finishers and mentors as we look to develop a more progressive and well-rounded business.
Another factor on the horizon is that a lot of major projects in London are set to finish in 2018. Consequently, new projects will be taken on which will provide fresh opportunities for us, as the major construction firms tender these new projects to sub-contractors. Firms are increasingly recognising the need for surface repair capabilities from the outset and we’re in an excellent position to capitalise on that. As a business, we’ve recruited and strengthened our London operations in anticipation of increased demand. With our finishers able to replicate the repair skills of a mix of trades, we’re in place to help fill any potential shortfall in European labour.
Another area where we’ve focused in recent years is Scotland, having launched a specific Scotland division in 2016, which sees a dedicated team based north of the border to cater for the region.
Our National Account Manager Mark McKay said: “Scotland has seen expansion in its university cities, which looks set to continue in the year ahead. This growth is partly funded by Chinese investment in UK cities and infrastructure in general, but the attraction of students from south of the border to go to highly regarded Scottish universities with more favourable tuition fees has seen a rise particular to Scotland.
As student numbers increase, new educational buildings and student accommodation will be required to service the growth and this is an area in which we’ve had considerable experience over the years.”
As the UK’s largest specialist repair operator, we also want to see the on-going growth of Sustainable Construction across the board. By increasing the number of damaged items that are repaired rather than replaced on-site we will see a significant reduction in the environmental impact of new construction projects.
Thanks to our repair capabilities which removes the need for replacement items and the corresponding waste, Plastic Surgeon has seen record landfill savings this year and this is set to further increase in 2018 and beyond.